The man who Stamford police say falsely claimed a group of Black and Hispanic men were harassing him is in custody, facing bigotry and bias charges.
Michael Dudek was seen on video at a marina at Cove Island Park telling police in a phone call the group was harassing him, saying “white lives matter too” and telling the other men his name is “God.” The group also alleged Dudek sprayed an irritating chemical at them.
Dudek turned himself into police after a warrant was issued.
The video shows Dudek appearing to call police and report, “I’m being harassed by a bunch of Black men down here.” A bystander photo, but not the video, shows Dudek pointing some kind of spray can at the group. Darnell Crosland, the lawyer for the five men who were confronted by Dudek, says the can was pepper spray, and the group claims Dudek used it on them.
One of the men was an off-duty Bridgeport police officer. When he walked over to try and de-escalate the situation, he says that was when Dudek used the pepper spray.
Crosland said the Stamford incident reminded him of the May 25 incident in New York’s Central Park in which a white woman, Amy Cooper, called police to report she was being threatened by an African American man, Christian Cooper, no relation, after he told her to leash her dog.
That incident also was captured on a widely watched video, which sparked allegations of racism and led to Amy Cooper getting fired from her job. There were no arrests, and Amy Cooper apologized.
“What this gentleman knew was that he can weaponize the 911 system, just like the lady in Central Park did, and so he doesn’t have to pull a gun anymore,” Crosland said. “Because of the system that is built on racism and prejudice, he was able to just call 911.”
Frazier, his cousin and three friends including a Bridgeport police officer hauled a boat on a trailer to the park Saturday during a weekend get-together to celebrate a birthday. Dudek told them they did not have permission to launch their boat at the Cove Park Marina ramp because they did not have a slip there like he did.
Besides bigotry and bias charges, Dudek is also accused of falsely reporting an incident. He was released on a $25,000 bond and is set to make a court appearance on August 31.